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The Politics of Protest in Hybrid Regimes: Managing Dissent in Post-Communist Russia Hardcover – December 20, 2010

ISBN-13: 978-0521118750 ISBN-10: 0521118751 Edition: 0th

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (December 20, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521118751
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521118750
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.7 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,273,189 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"In this superb study of protest in post-Soviet Russia, Graeme Robertson presents detailed quantitative and qualitative evidence to develop a theory of how regime-type shapes the frequency and character of protest. In the process, he not only undermines widespread stereotypes about the passivity of Russians, but also provides a better understanding of how protest can be functional to the stabilization of a semi-authoritarian regime."
-Mark Beissinger, Princeton University

"By demonstrating that protest in post-communist Russia has been far more prevalent than appreciated, Robertson provides a contrarian answer to one of the great puzzles of the postcommunist transformation: the supposed lack of protest despite wrenching social change. Well-written and closely argued, this work adds greatly to our knowledge of contentious politics and hybrid regimes by showing how elite politics and electoral completion shape the decision to take to the streets. The lessons from this important book apply well beyond the post-communist world."
-Timothy Frye, Columbia University

"Robertson has produced a breakthrough in how we understand mass politics in 21st century hybrid regimes, countries like Russia that combine elements of democracy and autocracy. Exposing as a myth the notion that Russians are generally passive in the face of hardship, The Politics of Protest in Hybrid Regimes explains how and why they mobilize at some times but not others, and spells out implications for regime stability and the possibility of long-run democratization. The book is full of clever insights and combines the satisfying rigor of strong quantitative analysis with the enjoyable nuance of a story told well based on extensive on-the-ground fieldwork and deep country knowledge."
-Henry Hale, The George Washington University

"In The Politics of Protest in Hybrid Regimes, Graeme Robertson has made a substantial contribution to our understanding of the interplay between ruling elites and popular protest in hybrid regimes. Employing a unique set of Russian Interior Ministry reports on strikes and protests in the late Yeltsin period as well as evidence from the Putin era, Robertson demonstrates that three sets of factors-the organizational environment for associations, the strategies used by political elites to mobilize the public, and the nature of intra-regime political competition-explain the variation in the level of popular protest across time and space. Robertson's argument has major implications for a broad range of contemporary regimes."
-Thomas F. Remington, Emory University

Book Description

In places as diverse as Bolivia, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Serbia, Thailand, Ukraine, and Venezuela, protest in the streets has played a key role in political change in the last decade. The Politics of Protest in Hybrid Regimes builds on previously unpublished data and extensive fieldwork in Russia to show how one high-profile hybrid regime manages political competition in the workplace and in the streets. More generally, the book develops a theory of how the nature of organizations in society, state strategies for mobilizing supporters, and elite competition shape political protest in hybrid regimes.

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Format: Hardcover
Who manages dissent? Graeme B. Robertson credits government with that capability. In Moscow, the former Mayor Yuri Luzhkov went to any length to prevent unwanted opposition protests. China is experiencing protests by the hundreds, including the massive trucker strike in April, 2011. But China is strictly authoritarian, not yet a hybrid in this book. Robertson defines hybrid regimes as a blend of authoritarianism and democracy. "One of the skills needed by today's post-modern authoritarians is managing and winning elections, preferably without cheating to the point of getting caught." Post-modern leaders can be genuinely popular when they improve the lives of their citizens. Thus, elections can be fairly won by these "post-modern authoritarians".

Robertson has analyzed popular protests in relation to elections and probability of election outcomes, illustrated in dozens of tables and graphs of protests and strikes. He finds that popular protests were frequent during the uncertainty about the Presidential succession in the summer of 1999. The unknown Putin was supported by only 2% of Russians in August 1999. As Putin's campaign developed over the autumn months and his popularity soared, protests fell off dramatically. By the time of the Duma election in December, Putin was already the preferred Presidential candidate of more than 50% of the electorate and went on to win the Presidential election handily in 2000. Surprisingly, the author concludes that Putin will probably leave Russia more democratic than Yeltsin did.

Every chapter begins with a quote from the bitter fictional portraits of contemporary Russia by Viktor Pelevin. "Agitprop is immortal. It is only the words that change." introduces the final chapter that applies the analysis to other hybrid regimes in Georgia, Ukraine and elsewhere.

The extensive information on popular protests in post-Soviet Russia will be of great interest to scholars of labor and grass roots politics.
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More About the Author

Graeme Robertson is an Assistant Professor of Political Science. He received his B.A. from Oxford University (1990), an M.A. in Russian, East European and Central Asian Studies from Harvard University (1997), and his Ph.D from Columbia University (2004). A specialist in Russian politics, Graeme's work focuses on labor, contentious politics, and hybrid and authoritarian regimes. He has contributed articles to the American Political Science Review, the American Journal of Political Science, Comparative Politics, the Journal of Democracy, Slavic Review, Communist and Post-Communist Studies and Pro et Contra.

Graeme is currently working on projects in a number of areas including looking at labor and protest in the developing world, at the interaction of structural factors and politics in political change in the post-Cold War period, and at governance in contemporary authoritarian regimes.

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The Politics of Protest in Hybrid Regimes: Managing Dissent in Post-Communist Russia
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